MOSCOW, Idaho – In a word – dropped. As in passes. Those, coupled with difficulty in stopping Old Dominion’s high-powered passing game, haunted the Idaho Vandals all afternoon in a 59-38 loss to the Monarchs.
“Our defense didn’t play good,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said after the Monarchs rolled for 621 total yards – 533 through the air.
The Vandals were victimized by at least six dropped passes.
“Our offense played real well a lot of times,” he said, noting the 308 yards passing and 505 yards total offense. “We had too many drops. We had 505 yards; 38 points. If you just eliminate the drops, we probably had 700 yards and 48 points.
“You can’t drop the ball.”
The Vandals jumped to a 14-0 lead when James Baker and Taylor Davis hooked up for a 73-yard scoring play on Idaho’s first play of the game. Davis followed with a quarterback keeper on Idaho’s next possession to score from 17 yards out.
ODU, however, came back with three successive scores – two passes and a field goal, to slip ahead, 17-14.
Idaho responded when Davis again scored on a keeper to give the Vandals a 21-17 lead after the first quarter.
True freshman kicker Austin Rehkow made it 24-17 on a 41-yard field goal with 9:50 left in the first half, only to have ODU came back to take the lead on back-to-back TDs. Once again, though, the Vandals answered through the air – this time with Davis going to Dezmon Epps from 66 yards out to tie the game at 31 with 1:51 left in the half.
The Vandals managed just one score in the second half, with ODU scoring four times to secure the victory.
Epps had a career-best game with nine receptions for 175 yards – the most yards by a Vandal receiver since Maurice Shaw had 183 in October 2009. His 175 ties for the 21st best in school history.
Davis finished the game with 308 yards on 15 of 29 passing, while James Baker had 57 yards to lead the ground game.
Jayshawn Jordan had a team-best eight tackles with Maxx Forde, Marc Millan and Bradley Njoku totaling seven each with two of Forde’s sacks.